Inside the distance

In boxing 'the distance' refers to the scheduled length of a fight, 9 rounds or 12, for the boxer, as for all of us, the goal is to stay standing.

Inside the Distance, documents victim/offender mediation practices in Belgium and shows how mediation poses a potential cultural alternative to dominant modes, methods and theories of justice and punishment. This work, which includes interviews with Mediators, Criminologists, Victims and Offenders conducted in Leuven and Brussels, focuses on the subject positions of victim, offender and mediator and the notion that those subject positions are fluid. 

The structure of the project – a web documentary and an installation with video and a touch-screen interactive interface – is organized into three parts:

“the Accounts” – presents the narratives of mediation cases as described to me in interviews with Mediators. These narratives are visualized through staged enactments that represent the notion of being and holding accountable.

“the Positions” – addresses the instability of subject positions – as articulated by Victims, offenders and mediators through their own personal reflections

“the Spaces” – takes up the ethical, theoretical, and discursive space of justice and punishment and the public and political space mediated or, perhaps, governed through law and criminialization in statements made by mediators, psychologists and criminologists.

Criminal acts are rents in the fabric of the social order – expressions of something that doesn’t fit. The mediators interviewed for this project described how mediations almost always begin with a focus on the details – victims and offenders wanting to confirm each others’ understanding of what happened – who was hurt and how – followed by attempts to find some way to understand why.  

INSIDE THE DISTANCE stages reenactments of this encounter as described by victims, offenders and mediators. It explores the subject position of each party - and the many ways in which those positions are fluid. Within Inside the Distance the space of mediation – the mediation table – is represented as a boundary object – a place of cooperation without consensus. At some level, at some moment, we are all victims - we are all offenders.

introductory video sequence 

INSIDE THE DISTANCE is a co-production by LINC-KU Leuven, STUK Arts Centre, Courtisane, University of California Santa Cruz, European Forum for Restorative Justice, Suggonomè – Flemish Mediation Service, and funded by OPAK.